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The DSiware titles not to be missed on your 3DS - Part 2
Editorial by 
June 03, 2011, 07:19:58
It's almost here: on June 6th, Nintendo will finally release an update allowing 3DS owners to use the eShop to buy old Game Boy games as well as original titles in digital form... well, 3 of them anyway. Yes, the old classics will be sparse at the launch of Nintendo's eShop, but there is a silver lining: over 350 DSiware titles will be ready to be downloaded.

And Negative World is here to help you find the best of the best.

But first, if you haven't already, please check out part 1 of this feature. Also, be aware of one thing : because the native resolutions of the 3DS and the DS are different, some retail DS games look less than optimal when played on the 3DS, and it will be the same for DSiware titles. The picture quality varies from game to game, and we are unable to test these on a 3DS unit so be warned: any comments about the graphical quality of these titles refer to them being played on a DSi system, and are not indicative of how they will look on 3DS.

That said, these games are all high quality where it counts, the gameplay, and that will not change when played on a 3DS! So please, give these games a spin:


Developer: AlienAfterAll
Publisher: NEKO Entertainment
Cost: 800 Points

DodoGo! is a pretty amazing package. Originally intended to be a full retail release for the DS, the game ended up coming out as a downloadable for DSiWare. Hopefully this change hasn't limited the potential audience for the game, because it's amazing. It's the same kind of mechanic that Lemmings and Mario vs Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! are based off of. You must guide a number of dodo eggs from one end of a stage to the safety of their nest at the other end of the stage. Using the stylus, you can manipulate the environment, tend to the eggs, and build new structures to ensure the safety of the young dodos. There are nearly 100 stages for you to conquer, so there is plenty for you to do here. Top it all off with cute, catchy music, top-notch presentation with bright, vivid colors and a cool art style, and smooth animation, this is a real showpiece for DSiWare. For 800 points, it's an absolute steal. Action/puzzle fans should definitely check it out.

And then, if you haven't had enough, you can get DodoGo! Challenge for 500 pts, and DodoGo! Robo for 200 points. You should not jump directly to them in the hopes of saving a few bucks, however, as they are definitely meant for DodoGo! veterans.

Shantae: Risky's Revenge

Developer: WayForward Technologies
Publisher: WayForward Technologies
Cost: 1200 Points

Shantae: Risky's Revenge, the long-awaited sequel to the rare Game Boy Color cult classic Adventure-Platformer Shantae, was obviously a real labor of love for WayForward. They've been looking to continue the series for years, and, luckily for us, DSiWare finally provided them with the opportunity.

They've made the most of it. Risky's Revenge is a fantastic throwback to the 2D golden era. It plays as well as you remember the best of those games playing, which is to say - much, much better. The titular (har!) genie's movement is zippy, the combat is fun, the controls are slick, the music (by chiptune superstar Jake "Virt" Kaufman) is exotic and catchy, and the graphics and animation are simply jaw-dropping. Shantae: Risky's Revenge is a joy to play, with a game design that harkens back to the Metroid series. However, this is a simplified take on the concept, with a smaller, denser layout, which is still packed with a healthy amount of secret areas for the intrepid explorer. And the rewards for careful exploration dovetail beautifully with the upgrade system. Perhaps the nicest surprise in Risky's Revenge is the witty, meta dialogue, which is genuinely clever and amusing.

Really, I can't say enough good things about this game. Aside from the slightly confusing overworld progression, everything here is just pure sweet cream butter. Shantae: Risky's Revenge is an absolute must-have, with more polish and charm than most retail games, and anyone looking for a fun old-school adventure will find it to be an absolute bargain at 1200 Nintendo Points. Highly recommended. Believe the hype.

Art Style: Boxlife

Developer: Skip Ltd.
Publisher: Nintendo
Cost: 500 Points

Art Style: Boxlife is yet another DSiWare contribution from the mad puzzle geniuses at Skip. Like most of their other games on the service, it brings some fresh new ideas to an often tired genre, while sprucing them up with a healthy dose of style and charm. Basically, Boxlife is a puzzle game about cutting and folding cardboard shapes into boxes. You play as a box worker in a box factory. Sounds boring, right? That's the joke! The game works as subversive commentary on life in general and game playing in specific. Perform menial tasks more efficiently, and your boxy character will rise to the 'next level' in the box-cutting world, thereby earning nicer clothes, a new title, and more superficial adornments for his virtual house. It's all quite clever and humorous.

As for the actual gameplay, most of it centers around time-based pattern recognition. R&D Mode will introduce you to the basic six-square shapes that can be folded into a box, tasking you to cut predefined shapes into boxes without wasting any squares. It starts quite simply, but ramps up in the later levels, where the puzzles can consist of several different shapes. The cutting and folding action is very elegantly handled on the system's touch-screen. Factory Mode allows you to use your box-cutting skillz in a more freeform, creative manner, with a slowly scrolling assembly line of cardboard that you must continually cut and fold, eliminating bombs by boxing them up (and, theoretically, sending them to customers) before they explode and earning combos by making several boxes in rapid succession.

If you're up for the challenge, though, Boxlife is a fresh, funny take on the puzzle genre that is well worth playing. (And the music is great, too.)

Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon

Developer: Fuse Games
Publisher: Nintendo
Cost: 500 Points

This original stand-alone table takes a physical simulation approach to pinball, rather than the unrealistic fantasy approach. Though packed with imaginary targets and lights and ramps (and even a 'video mode'), this is a table that could technically be built. It also makes the most of its original theme as original as the theme of Ancient Greece can be, anyway). The Ancients Beckon is positively dripping with old-school pinball charm, from the sharp graphics to the amazing voice work, which, in classic pinball fashion, sounds slightly compressed. If you don't crack a smile at Zeus' blustery admonitions, then you have no soul.

For the souled among you, however, Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon is one of the safest bets on DSiWare. The modes are limited to Normal Play and a Daily one-ball challenge, and there's only one table here, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more solid, inventive, and charming pinball table. My single gripe about the game concerns the use of the touch-screen for tilt, but that tiny blemish does little to mar the excellence of Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon, hopefully only the first in a long-running series.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, Pinball Pulse is one of the handful of non-transferable games/apps. But DSi(XL) owners should still give it a look!

Starship Defense (Starship Patrol in the UK/EU)

Developer: Q-Games
Publisher: Nintendo
Cost: 500 Points

Ask any fan of the PixelJunk series: Q-Games knows how to make good tower defense games. And predictably enough, Starship Defense is probably the best game of the genre on the system. It may not be as colorful as PixelJunk Monsters, but it is just as addictive. And just as challenging: you can try to get the best possible score as well as a "Perfect" mention by not letting one enemy escape alive, but in many cases, simply surviving the level will be challenging enough. It can get frustrating, especially since one mistake early in a mission may cost you the game, but you only realize this when a fire-breathing serpent kills you dead at the very last minute without you being able to stop it. One thing is certain, however: you will find it hard to resist hitting Retry immediately.

Photo Dojo

Developer: SRD Co.
Publisher: Nintendo
Cost: 200 Points

It is no exaggeration to say that this game single-handedly justifies the existence of the DSi's terribly low-resolution cameras. The idea (and the execution, to be honest) is a simple one: taking photos of your friends in different fighting stances, and then duke it out in-game. The results are as hilarious as what your friends can come up with. The game itself is shallow, to say the least, and perhaps the whole process of putting a friend into the game is a little too long: they'll have to bear with it and you will have to reassure them that it's all worthwhile. But in the end, the laughs you'll get will very much be worth the $2.

Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ

Developer: EnjoyUp Games
Publisher: Gammick Entertainment
Cost: 800 Points

At 800 points, LRRHZBBQ may seem like one of the DSiware services' more expensive games, but when you consider the fact that this was previously a retail release, it starts to look like a good deal.

As the titular LRRH armed with a machine gun, you traverse fantasy lands trying to rid your world of a zombie plague. You cross varied levels and new types of zombies are introduced until the very end to keep the game fresh. The complete absence of a scoring system will make shmup fans raise an eyebrow, but at least the three difficulty levels should still provide plenty of gameplay. There is an undeniable charm about the game, but don't be fooled by the fairy tales subject matter and the anime style, this is one gruesome adventure not meant for children. Seriously. The sight of Red Riding Hood's Granny spitting possessed dentures is sure to scar any young one for life.

Dark Void Zero

Developer: Other Ocean Interactive
Publisher: Capcom
Cost: 500 Points

Dark Void Zero is made out to be a long-lost NES game, finally available for us to play, via DSiWare. And it really does feel like one. While a little shorter than your average NES game, there is enough content here for the asking price. You play as a space marine trying to eradicate the enemy alien scum in various outer-world locations. The gameplay consists of a 2D shooter with gun powerups, and a jetpack powerup that is very fun to use. The level design is quite good, with large areas that require trekking to specific locations to find keycards to advance. The challenge is there even on normal difficulty, and there are collectibles to snag along the way. If you're looking for a solid throwback 2D action platformer, look no further than Dark Void Zero.

So there you have it. There are many, many more games on the DSiware service that are worth a look, but this should be enough to get you started. Come back if you run out, perhaps this will motivate us to write part three!

We mention "points" in this article, as currently gamers have to buy batches of points that they use to buy the games. The conversion system is simple in North America: $1 = 100 pts (that goes for the US as well as Canada). However, in the United Kingdom for instance, 14 = 2000 pts. Nintendo has announced that the 3DS's e-Store would drop the points system: you will still need to buy "batches" of dollars to be used on the store, but no more Nintendo points. We believe we can expect Nintendo to convert the prices in accordance with the current rates, so depending on where you are, convert accordingly.

Thanks go to Anand for the Pinball Pulse, Shantae and Boxlife entries, anon_mastermind for the Dark Zero entry, and GameDadGrant for the DodoGo! entry.

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Posted: 06/03/11, 07:19:58  - Edited by 
 on: 06/14/11, 03:20:44    
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
I gotta thank you guys for recommending Starship Defense. I'm having a ton of fun with it. Great game. I highly recommend it.

Anyone else feel like this thing might have been originally designed as a Starfox game? It certainly feels, at times, like it was developed from scrapped ideas they might have had lying around after Command.

Posted by 
 on: 06/15/11, 23:09:40
I'm very tempted by Aura-Aura Climber. Thanks for this thread!

Posted by 
 on: 06/15/11, 23:15:07
Temptation + $2 = Sin.

Wait 'till you play X-Scape!

Does Starship Defense really feel like Command? I like Q-Games, but I didn't pick it up due to my general dislike for Tower Defense games.

Posted by 
 on: 06/16/11, 05:11:23  - Edited by 
 on: 06/16/11, 05:12:23
I don't know if Kris simply mistyped. Did you mean X-Scape, Kris?

I can't say I see the parallel between Starship Defense and SF Command. Only SD and PixelJunk Monsters.

Posted by 
 on: 06/16/11, 05:31:09
Nah, I don't want to overstate the similarities to Command. It seems like a tower defense game to me, insofar as I have experience with the genre, anyway. I should have said, "Does anyone else think this thing might have been originally conceptualized as a potential Star Fox spin-off game in the tower defense genre?" Mostly I'm just thinking of some very shallow similarities - You've got a top down map where you handle troop placement with the touchscreen, a corny talking robot giving you instructions, a branching map, the powerups look similar to the ones in Command, uh... It's in outer space. I mean, these are pretty shallow connections, I admit. But the game has a kind of "hand-drawn on grid paper" look, which is almost radically simplistic. Considering Q's history with Star Fox, it wouldn't surprise me if someone told me it started as a potential Star Fox project and then they stripped all that out.

Even the title: StarSHIP Defense. Star FOX Defense. I mean, it's just too good! Boom! Proof!

See, this is how rumors get started. "This game is in space. Must have originally been a Star Fox game!"

Posted by 
 on: 06/16/11, 05:50:48
I enjoyed those parts of Command a lot more than I should've. They got their Advance Wars in my Starfox!

Posted by 
 on: 06/17/11, 06:08:07
Has anyone played AlphaBounce? I'm interested now that RFN compared it to Arkanoid 2. Loved that game.

Posted by 
 on: 07/03/11, 10:17:35
Pandallaume didn't like it.

Posted by 
 on: 07/03/11, 14:41:07

Posted by 
 on: 07/03/11, 18:55:49
I agree @TriforceBun, these DSiWare recommendations are great. I picked up Dark Void Zero and LOVE it.

Posted by 
 on: 08/03/11, 07:06:05
On that note, did anyone else get 100% on Dark Void Zero? Maybe I just suck at exploration, but on the first level I have 98/100 orbs and 4/5 journals. I can't find the last few items. Maybe there's some hidden areas not shown on the map?

I haven't found any online strategy guides for this game...

EDIT: Found a guide! So I was missing items in the hidden areas, let's give this a go!

Posted by 
 on: 08/03/11, 08:24:58  - Edited by 
 on: 08/06/11, 03:38:24
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